SIU Edwardsville (9-15) at Central Arkansas (9-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 23, 5:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Farris Center (6,000) -- Conway, Arkansas. Television: None. Home Record: SIUED 8-5, Central Arkansas 6-7. Away Record: SIUED 1-10, Central Arkansas 3-9. Neutral Record: SIUED 0-0, Central Arkansas 0-0. Conference Record: SIUED 5-9, Central Arkansas 4-11. Series Record: Central Arkansas leads, 1-0.
GAMES NOTES: As part of BracketBuster weekend the SIU Edwardsville Cougars and the Central Arkansas Bears will collide at the Farris Center on Saturday.
SIU Edwardsville doesn't have a ton of momentum on its side coming into this non-conference tilt. The Cougars have dropped four of the last five contests to slide further down the Ohio Valley Conference standings. The Cougars are now 9-15 overall and just 5-9 in league bouts. Road matchups have not turned out well most times for the Cougars who have just one win in 11 tries away from home.
Coming out of the Southland Conference is Central Arkansas which has also been sliding of late with defeats in five straight matchups. The Bears' most recent setback was a 95-64 rout at the hands of Oral Roberts that has the team at 9-16 overall and just 4-11 in league action.
In just one previous meeting, Central Arkansas won a 101-94 shootout during the 1993-94 season.
An 83-73 defeat against Tennessee State was the outcome of SIU Edwardsville's last game. In the contest the Cougars allowed the Tigers to shoot 57.7 percent from the field, including makes on 10-of-15 shots from 3-point range. Kris Davis (25 points) and Tim Johnson (18 points) did their best to keep the Cougars in the contest.
The Cougars took a real hit earlier this month when leading scorer Jerome Jones (16.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg) was suspended in mid-February. With Jones out, Davis (11.4 ppg, 3.6 apg) and Mark Yelovich (11.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg) are the top remaining scorers. Davis has really taken his new responsibilities to heart as he has taken at least 11 shots and scored in double figures in six straight contests. Michael Messer (9.0 ppg) could be scoring better but by shooting below 40 percent from the field, hasn't been consistent enough. The Cougars are scoring only 63.8 points per game on 42.8 percent shooting which has them near the bottom of their respective conference.
In its loss to Oral Roberts, Central Arkansas recorded 11 fewer field goals than the Eagles and also shot 15 percentage points below its hosts. The Bears also had a 56-38 deficit in rebounds while turning the ball over 18 times.
Central Arkansas hasn't had an offensive problem this season. The Bears are putting in 75.6 points per game which has them ranked 26th nationally. However Central Arkansas is extremely weak on the defensive end of the floor as it allows 78.5 points per game. Jarvis Garner (15.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg) is the leading scorer on the roster that features a trio of players putting in at least 14 points per game. LaQuentin Miles (14.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.3 apg) is the top distributor on the roster, while Robert Crawford (14.0 ppg) is another strong scorer.
With Jones out, the Cougars are severely undermanned which will prove to be a huge weakness against the high-octane Bears.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Central Arkansas 75, SIU Edwardsville 68
02/23 10:46:55 ET